Growing and Eating Sustainably

Agroecology in Action

By Dana James and Evan Bowness  Foreword by Hannah Wittman  

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The industrial food system, from production to consumption and waste, is a major contributor to environmental, social and economic problems. A few powerful multinational corporations have consolidated control of agricultural markets and wealth while many farmers struggle to make a living and millions of people go hungry every day. Consumer access to healthy and culturally appropriate food remains largely an option for only those who can afford it.

Responding to these destructive practices, global agrarian movements are calling for a transition to agroecology. Agroecological farming follows ecological principles for growing food in a way that respects diverse sociocultural contexts, connects urban eaters and rural growers and attends to power dynamics.

Growing and Eating Sustainably shines light on the process of agroecological transition by showcasing the experiences of growers and eaters in southern Brazil, a country where agrarian movements have long been at the forefront of pushing for more sustainable and just food systems. Through stories and photographs of people, landscapes, farms and farming practices, and urban spaces, this book communicates how to advance systems-level agroecological transitions by linking rural and urban areas and connecting diverse agroecological experiences.

“An engaging blend of the practical and the political. Whether you’re farming at an industrial scale, feeling trapped by input prices and wanting to dream a little about what positive change could look like, an eater who wants an accessible peek into what makes a food system, a community activist looking for food-systems related ideas, or a policy analyst interested in bringing more fairness to agricultural policy … this book has something for everybody!”

— Katie Ward, President of the National Farmers Union

“In times of crisis, uncertainty and irrationality, there is nothing better than a book “upwards,” full of light and life. This book presents why industrial agriculture has become obsolete and presents experiences of how real and effective alternatives are being produced through agroecology in Brazil. A pleasant, delightful and straightforward reading, which makes the reader travel through thoughts to imagine how the interaction between people and nature produces rural landscapes and a food culture.”

— Sergio Schneider, Rural Development/Food Studies, Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, Brazil

“‘Growing and Eating Sustainably’ presents a creative and refreshing delivery representing the core of the agroecological ethos. It puts the voices of the people practicing agroecology, daily, as front and center. Through their stories we get to learn how agroecology is lived and implemented. In addition, the extensive use of photography and accessible language facilitates its use by a wide diversity of readers. This book represents a creative and important contribution to anyone doing education and implementing agroecology as a transformative approach.”

— V. Ernesto Méndez, Professor of Agroecology and Environmental Studies, University of Vermont

  • Food
  • ISBN: 9781773634821
  • October 2021
  • 128 Pages
  • $28.00
  • For sale worldwide
  • EPUB
  • ISBN: 9781773635101
  • October 2021
  • $27.99
  • For sale worldwide
  • PDF
  • ISBN: 9781773635002
  • October 2021
  • $27.99
  • For sale worldwide

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  • Chapter 1: Introducing Agroecology and Food Systems Transitions
  • Chapter 2: The Industrial Food System: Contradictions and Crises
  • Chapter 3: Where Does Agroecological Food Come From?
  • Chapter 4: Creating and Deepening Grower-Eater Relations
  • Chapter 5: Envisioning the Future of Agroecological Food Systems


  • Dana James

    Dana James is a PhD candidate, Vanier Scholar, and Public Scholar in the Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability at the University of British Columbia. Her doctoral research explores agroecological farming and participation in agrarian social movements in Brazil.

  • Evan Bowness

    Evan Bowness is an environmental sociologist and urban political ecologist, UBC Public Scholar and PhD candidate at the Centre for Sustainable Food Systems and the Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability at the University of British Columbia.

  • Hannah Wittman

    University of British Columbia

    Hannah Wittman is a professor in the Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability and the Faculty of Land and Food Systems at the University of British Columbia. She conducts collaborative research on local food systems, farmer networks, agrarian citizenship, and agroecological transitions in Canada and throughout Latin America.

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